By: William Clark
Over a decade in the making, Cinderella frontman, Tom Keifer, is boldly launching his solo career with a thrilling and terrific new album, The Way Life Goes ; an appropriate title, considering the multiple obstacles he’s faced.
It’s 1990, Cinderella has just finished their extensive Heartbreak Station tour. Just as the band was at the top of their game, Tom faced several life-altering complications; nodules on his vocal chords, and a paralyzed left vocal chord.
He was told by medical professionals that his case is devastating for vocalists, and that he would never be able to sing again. This directly affected his ability to perform, mentally and physically.
And yet, he never stopped persevering, rehabilitating and strengthening his vocal chords, and working on writing and performing music.
Although fans have had to wait over twenty years to hear some new material from the renowned musician, when those first few racing guitar licks to “Welcome To My Mind” come cranking out of your speakers, you instantly know The Way Life Goes was more than worth the wait.
The entire album is perfectionist quality, from all of those years of revision and the occasional revisiting.
When I sat down and spoke with Tom about his new album, he talked about wanting to featuring multiple genres of music, to help take the listener on a journey.
After listening to the album from start to finish, this makes absolute sense, as Tom tackles on a broad selection of styles that ranges from country, to blues, to straight up rock and roll.
Whether it’s the unassailable blues-rock throwback “Cold Day In Hell”, the sentimental acoustic guitar ballad “Ask Me Yesterday”, or heavy hitting “It’s Not Enough”, Tom masterfully embraces each musical genre with sheer excellence, and never ceases to come out on the winning side.
The entire album is moderately fast paced, which allows you to easily become set into the groove of the guitar dominated songs like “Mood Elevator” and “Ain’t That A Bitch”, the latter of which is built around a striking Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque guitar riff.
Tom seems to consciously embrace the Aerosmith-side of his songwriting, through such new captivating power ballads as “Thick and Thin” and “You Showed Me”, which both showcase elaborate piano playing and some powerful-as-ever vocal work.
No matter where you put the needle on The Way Life Goes, the album is downright fantastic.
From the opening lick to “Solid Ground”, to the final mind haunting group chorus of “Babylon Life”, Tom Keifer gives a continuously electrifying performance, and your hand never once remotely drifts towards the skip button.
What more can I say, except welcome back, Tom. We’ve missed you.
- Format: Audio CD (April 30, 2013)
- Original Release Date: 2013
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Alternative Distribution Alliance
1) Solid Ground
2) A Different Light
3) It’s Not Enough
4) Cold Day In Hell
5) Thick And Thin
6) Ask Me Yesterday
7) Fools Paradise
8) The Flower Song
9) Mood Elevator
10) Welcome To My Mind
11) You Showed Me
12) Ain’t That A Bitch
13) The Way Life Goes
By: Robert Cavuoto
Lou Gramm the lead singer of the iconic band Foreigner, is ready to tell his story in his new book, Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock n’ Roll.
In this book Lou shares details about his rise from humble, working-class roots in Rochester, N.Y., to become one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most distinctive and popular voices.
He recounts how he realized his dream to be a rock star but sadly, like many stars, succumb to the trappings of wealth and fame. Foreigner’s remarkable success was due in large part to the song-writing synergy between he and the band’s founder, Mick Jones.
However, creative clashes between the two would become more frequent and the tension would result in Lou departure, not once but twice; the second time for good.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lou and to talk about his life’s story and the legacy that he and Mick Jones created together in Foreigner.
Robert Cavuoto: I really enjoyed your book Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock n’ Roll. What are some of the things you want your fans to take away from it?
Lou Gramm: More or less what life is like; that it’s not all glory and good times. That there are sacrifices and pitfalls which are easy to get caught up in. That there were accolades and satisfaction when you write a good song and it does well. But that’s not everything. I just wanted to show an accurate picture of how it was for me.
Robert: In the book you talk about always wanting to be a rock star. It’s also evident in the hit song, “The Jukebox Hero.” Tell me a little about that drive and how you attained your goal.
Lou Gramm: The first time I remember actually wanting to be a rock star or at least make a living playing music was when I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Something clicked with me. It was fantastic. There was a guitar out of tune here and there, or harmony that was a little off, but it was television, and television is very unforgiving.
They were on numerous times on Ed Sullivan and I think I saw them every single time. To me that was the real initiative, the breakthrough that made me understand what I wanted to do for a living. It wasn’t the screen; it was the great songs and playing live. That really was the attraction for me.
Robert: Being in the music business for fifty years, I’m sure you’ve seen from drastic changes from when you were starting out.
Lou Gramm: One of the big ones is corporate radio. There used to be independent radio stations with program directors that had an idea of what they wanted to play. That type of thing is now gone, and you hear just about the same 10 or 12 songs on every button you push. And that’s sad.
The other changes that are drastic are when an artist has had numerous successful albums and singles, it is certainly inexplicable that there’s no intent to play their new music. Only their old hits are played on Classic Rock Radio. It’s like being put out to pasture. Again, it’s not that these artists have tried to put out albums but it won’t get the airplay anymore. Their time is over. Someone somewhere has drawn the line, saying, “That’s it for them.”
Robert: I recently spoke with Roger Glover of Deep Purple and he said the same thing. He goes, “Outside of our four hits, nobody has played any of our new stuff in the last 30 years. We’re invisible.”
Lou Gramm: Yeah, that’s right, and for better or worse record companies don’t have the clout they used to have 25 years ago. You really don’t need a record deal. You just do a recording; you can do an excellent recording on home equipment now, because the level of that equipment is so proficient. Then put it on the Internet for the whole world to hear. It’s interesting and it’s terrific for up-and-coming rockers, but it’s the death knell for the established ones.
Robert: I think there’s a level of expectation that’s required of bands like Foreigner, Aerosmith, and Deep Purple – that every album is going to have huge hits, and sometimes it’s not achievable or that music is not in fashion. I assume that makes it a little more challenging.
Lou Gramm: And if you start writing for the times, you’ll never succeed. You can’t chase the style of music that’s popular. You are what you are.
Robert: The one thing I couldn’t figure out in the book was why Mick Jones kept cutting you out of all the writing collaboration? You guys were hit makers so why would he want to jeopardize your relationship for a couple more dollars? It wouldn’t make sense in the long run.
Lou Gramm: I think he felt that if he could limit my input, but still have me sing, there’s a huge, huge financial benefit that would flow his way, making sure that I was able to buy into the song emotionally. He took that chance and at a certain point, my input was null and void.
I clearly wanted to steer away from the sappy ballads. We had “Waiting for a Girl,” that was a huge hit. Its fine, but “I Want to Know What Love Is,” was the first single of an album after “Waiting for a Girl” and now we had two huge ballads in a row, and then the next single from the next album was “I Don’t Want to Live Without You.”
So, now there’s three big singles from three consecutive albums. Our rock reputation and our rock audience were severely diminished.
Songs like “I Don’t Want to Live Without You,” or “I Want to Know What Love Is,” cross over from rock radio to MOR (middle-of-the-road) radio to soft rock. So you win big on all fronts. I think, at some point that became more appealing to him than keeping our rock integrity intact. That really was the source of our anxiety and anger at each other.
Robert: It seemed like he was trying to make you a hired gun rather than a partner.
Lou Gramm: That’s what I was feeling like.
Robert: The interesting thing about the ballads was that Foreigner was on the forefront of it. In the 80’s every hard rock band had to have at least two “Monster ballads” on their album in order get radio or video play.
Lou Gramm: I was particularly aware of that. It was almost like we set the trend, but it wasn’t a trend I was proud of. [laughter]
Robert: When you look back, do you think Mick was aware of that trend, or did he just stumble into it?
Lou Gramm: I’m very sure he was aware of the upside of that. It’s pretty sad because even album rock radio then would go right to those songs. And our good rock songs got zero attention versus on the earlier albums when they would focus on the melodic but hard-rocking single.
Robert: When you were getting ready to record 4, you got rid of the whole rhythm section. Did you really think that the original band would not have been able to pull off what you accomplished on 4?
Lou Gramm: Everyone in the band was very proficient at their instrument and wanted to be the best they could. But by the time 4 rolled around, when we came off the road for Head Games, and we put our big equipment away so did people’s guitars and drums. Everything gets locked into the storage room.
After touring, there were more than a few people who didn’t touch their instruments until months and months until we started rehearsing for the next album. So we would have to stop for clunky notes, just like you would expect for someone who didn’t touch them for three or four months.
Robert: They were rusty.
Lou Gramm: Yeah, and it was very frustrating, while you were supposed to be creating you had to wait for people to figure parts out. We felt that when it was time to start creating, everybody should be sharp as a tack on their instrument. That was something that was a lack of dedication,
It seemed that when we would exchange ideas, only certain people would contribute and those contributions was more like something we had done two albums ago. Not only were people not practicing their instruments, but now their ideas were stale as well.
It got to point where we felt a clean break and just trimming the band down to a quartet. It was the only way we were going to survive, or we would be one of those bands that you can’t tell one song from the first album versus the third album. We were insistent on each album having its own personality.
Robert: Do you still speak with those three other members?
Lou Gramm: Some of them. I speak to Ian McDonald and Dennis Elliott occasionally.
Robert: How is your relationship with Mick?
Lou Gramm: There is no relationship, to tell you the truth. I did speak to him in just the past month or so and congratulated him on his songwriting Hall of Fame award we won. And he congratulated me on mine, and it was a friendly but chilly, short phone call.
Robert: What do you think about him carrying the torch for Foreigner?
Lou Gramm: He owns the name, and he has the right to do whatever he wants. He’s been very ill. He had a throat tumor and a heart bypass.
So, he’s been off the road for almost two years. But the band continues to play without him. I think he’s still in the band, but due to his health problems, he hasn’t been playing.
Yet another 7 string model released and this time a Les Paul 7 string, honestly the choice for 7 strings these days is massive I love it!
Epiphone® Instruments today announced the new, Limited-Edition Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom and Limited-Edition Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7 guitars inspired by Trivium vocalist and guitarist Matt Heafy. The six-string and seven-string models are representative of Heafy’s close work with Epiphone luthiers and feature a sleek, all blacked-out Ebony gloss finish.
“Epiphone has given me the opportunity to craft exactly the kind of guitar I have always dreamed of – a guitar that could withstand a brutal around-the-world tour schedule and also one that I would be able to record with in delicate technical proficiency, ” said Matt Heafy. “My very first Les Paul Custom was the inspiration behind the new Limited-Edition Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom guitar models.”
The Limited-Edition Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom 6-string (U.S. MSRP: $1,165) features an EMG-85 pickup in the neck position and an EMG-81 pickup in the bridge position, an Axcess heel, ebony fretboard, easy access 9V battery compartment and all of the classic Les Paul features that guitarists have come to expect from Epiphone instruments.
The Limited-Edition Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7 seven-string (U.S. MSRP $1,332) shares all of the same features as the six-sting model, but instead utilizes an EMG-707 pickup in the neck position and an EMG 81-7 pickup in the bridge position.
“Matt is the ideal Epiphone artist. His passion for music and quality can be found in everything he does,” said Epiphone President Jim Rosenberg. “We’ve been fans of Matt for a long time. His enthusiasm for every detail of these guitars was an inspiration. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with on these Les Pauls.”
The post Epiphone® Introduces New Limited-Edition Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Custom-7 appeared first on Guitar Noize.
David Brent kicks off his new series of guitar tutorials with the song ‘Life On The Road’.
“E, A, D, G, B, E. Who cares? What are you going to do with them? Whatever you like. Within reason.”
This is partially guitar related as it contains interviews with some Metal guitarists so I thought many of you would find this interesting.
LOUDER THAN HELL: The Definitive Oral History of Metal is in stores NOW! Compiled from over 400 interviews conducted by respected music journalists Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, is a chronological history of heavy metal, told through the words of the men and women who created it, played it, re-invented it, and continue to rock it.
Candid and confessional commentary comes straight from icons of the genre, including: Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Bruce Dickinson, Eddie Van Halen, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Lita Ford, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Axl Rose, Slash, Corey Taylor, Dave Mustaine, Chuck Schuldiner, Lemmy Kilmister, King Diamond, Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, Slayer’s Kerry King, Phil Anselmo, Rob Zombie and more. With an introduction by Scott Ian of Anthrax and an afterword by Rob Halford of Judas Priest, and with two 16-page photo inserts, with some never-before seen candid shots by celebrated rock photographers Stephanie Cabral and Robert Matheu, this is the book metal fans have been waiting for.
From the creation of Black Sabbath in the late 1960s, to Judas Priest’s development of the leather-and-studs look, to Metallica introducing the world to thrash, to the inception of Ozzfest, to Faith No More accidentally creating the first hybrid of rap and metal, to the provocative exploits of the Sunset Strip scene, to the death and destruction surrounding Norwegian black metal, LOUDER THAN HELL gets to the meat of the metal matter.
The post LOUDER THAN HELL: The Definitive Oral History Of Metal By Jon Wiederhorn & Katherine Turman appeared first on Guitar Noize.
How have I not heard of this until now?! It seems Guitarbots has been online for a while but it took a link to a video of Mika Tyyska playing along to his track ‘Awaki Waki’ for me to jump on to the site and give it a go myself.
If you have played Guitar Hero you will immediately understand how this game works, even if you haven’t it is very simple, you play the notes on the animated TAB in time and get scored on accuracy of notes and timing. The challenges begin with very simple open string tracks with very easy rhythms and progress to harder tracks using single notes, double notes, chords etc. and more complex rhythms. Don’t worry, there is plenty to get through before you are faced with Mr Fastfinger tracks!
So how does it work and how well? The first thing you need to do is to tune your guitar using the online tuner to make sure the software can analyse your guitar accurately. I tried first using a room mic and had no luck but when I switched to my mic’d cabinet it worked perfectly. You should be able to use a software amp such as Amplitube too as the app allows you to set which input to use for the game which would be even more accurate I imagine. The other thing I should mention is that the game uses the Unity 3D plugin which you are prompted to install so this won’t work on an iPad. Once tuned up you are ready to go. With a free account you are limited to 5 minutes play per day but the first time you play it lets you recharge a couple of times to get the feel of the game.
I have to say it is really fun and after the 2nd day I was gutted that I only had 5 minutes and really want to get to the Mr Fastfinger tracks so I am going to sign up for a monthly subscription for $9.99/month. I think this will encourage me to actually play more and the increasing difficulty will challenge me and improve my speed, accuracy and timing. For beginners I can see that you would rapidly progress using this as a teaching aid, each challenge allows you to use practice mode as much as you like until you are confident enough to play and have your score counted.
This is exactly the kind of thing I hoped would be developed when the original Guitar Hero came out, I didn’t expect that it would be a web based game and yet so accurate. This is one addictive and fun game for guitarists and the bonus is that it will improve playing as well as give you bragging rights as you share your achievements across the social networks.
The post Guitarbots – online Guitar Hero style game using your own guitar appeared first on Guitar Noize.
James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979
I took this photo a while ago, that is one problem with having a day job, it gets in the way of what you really want to do. A day job is there to pay bills.
The top gauge I made a little over 20 years ago from some Claro walnut that my neighbor, who was a logger, gave me from a claro walnut tree that he had fallen along Cottonwood Creek in northern California. The tree had be cut up for firewood. I got the idea for the gauge from an article in a Woodwork magazine where the author made a gauge from some madrone.
The lower gauge, which is really a cutting gauge, is also made from walnut, but the wood came from a tree that my grandfather had planted in 1942.
I am always grateful that I made my own gauges that I never had to buy one. There is something about using a tool that you made for yourself. Click here for an article that I recommend on how to make your own marking gauge.
I've finished shaping the wings on the bridge and tomorrow I will reduce the height of the chordal block (the part of the bridge that anchors the strings) so I can glue on a piece of mother of pearl. In an article in American Lutherie, guitar maker R.E. Brune stated that if you are making a close copy of a guitar by Antonio Torres or Hermann Hauser, and if you want it to sound as close to the original guitar, you need to make an exact copy of the original bridge. I made this bridge according to Roy Courtnall's plans, but because Julia's guitar is narrower than the original, I made the bridge shorter than the original one. I am also trying to keep this bridge as light as possible, right now it is at 20 grams, the mother of pearl will add some weight. A bridge can "dampen" a guitar top, the idea is to let the top vibrate a freely as possible. Check out this article by Ervin Somogyi on guitar dynamics.
It's been a magical experience making this guitar for Julia: the wood is amazing, adhering to the traditional Spanish school of guitar making to assemble this guitar, the French polish and the joy of working I believe are going to make this guitar truly amazing to play and to listen to.
Guitarz reader Andrew K writes:
Okay, what we have here is the Vox Phantom VI Special with the onboard effects. This was the full, top-of-the-line, Vox Effects guitar. While the Starstream and other hollowbodies contained the smaller 3 effect unit the special contains ALL the effects. And I do mean all. Reliability notwithstanding these were truly special instruments, they were just about the only special FX guitar ever built that was fully analogue and actually functioned properly, and to top it off they were dead awesome and dead sexy. They are not as specialised as the guitarorgan or as standard as the Starsteam and other hollowbodies, they stand alone and thanks to the fact the company was circling the drain, there are relatively few of them in good nick. The fact they kept breaking may have counted against them in the long run.
And, Ian Curtis played one in Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" video. Enough has been said, but still I will say more.
Ian really liked this guitar. The Phantom had tons of effects built into it, as an added bonus. It had a pause unit, and a thing called the 'replat'. when we got the guitar, half the effects didn't work, and we were thinking "what the hell is the replat?" We got the guitar repaired, and it turned out that 'replat' was actually repeat - it was just a misprint. The guitar has a battery in it, and if you press the buttons in the wrong combination it will go into the self-oscillate mode and start to make this strange twittering sound that Ian liked very much. It is a pretty wacky guitar.If all of that is not reason enough for a feature, then I have absolutely no clue what is enough justification.
Ian didn't' really want to play guitar, but for some reason we wanted him to play it. I can't remember the reason now. It sounded like some of the thinner guitars on the Velvet Underground tracks, clean and jangly. I think Ian used to only play on 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'... no I'm wrong, there was another track too. Maybe, 'Heart and Soul'? I do remember Ian used to play only one chord, which was D. We showed him how to play D and we wrote a song. I wonder if that's why we wrote 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', you could drone a D through it. I think he played it live because I was playing keyboards. On the record, I played guitar, a twelve-string Eko (misspelt 'echo') an Italian guitar that sounded pretty good.
To pick it out, I think we just went to a record shop and said, that one looks cool, get that one and he said, yeah, I like that. I kept the guitar after he died, kept it under my bed in a case and then gave it back to his daughter when she came of age.
We did use it on a couple of New Order recordings. The one I remember is 'Everything's Gone Green'. On the rhythm guitar part on that song, you can hear this guitar. It just plays the D chord. That's a joke...
Do as you will.
P.S. if you read the description, It has a neck made by a furniture manufacturer. Quirky enough?
© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
The classic 12 bar blues shuffle riff can be played either straight or with a swing feel. In addition to this, it can be tremendous fun to play around with and to try out a few variations of your own.
I first learned to play my own Blues riffs whilst trying to decode other tunes, and often my own licks evolved out of me misinterpreting what I had heard in the originals.
The following examples are variations all based around the standard 12 Bar Blues shuffle:
Chuck Berry Rhythm Riff
The classic 12 bar Blues rhythm riff
Click for Audio of this lick.
Jim Campilongo Swing Feel
This swing blues riff is based around a G Major CAGED shape of A with a Minor to Major 3rd on beat 2.
The 7th is played with a high Major 3rd on beat 4 to complete all of the key tones of an A7 arpeggio.
Click for audio of this lick.
Alternating Blues Shuffle 1
This is a simple swing pattern based around the Chuck Berry riff that allows for a movement through a Dominant 7 arpeggio with the 6th on the first beat of the second bar added to give a real rock n roll feel.
Click for Audio of this Lick.
Alternating Blues Shuffle 2
This riff works in a similar way, moving up through the Dominant 7th chord by playing the Root note, 3rd and 7th on the first beat and then on the 3rd beat.
Click for audio of this lick.
All of these shuffles work well in other keys as well as with other Arpeggios such as the Minor 7.
So try moving them around and making a few up of your own out of the variations.
If you loop them over and over and play to the metronome you will find that you will be able to work with the groove to create riffs of your own quite easily.
About the Author
Simon Joseph James is a London based Guitarist, Vocalist, Songwriter and Teacher. He studied at Manchester University, the London Centre for Contemporary Music and spent four years studying in Seville with Ramon Ruiz of the Alma Flamenco Group. Simon runs the site Guitar4Free.com which contains over 250 Written and Video Lessons focusing on Blues, Jazz, Folk and Latin Guitar.
…Chester Bennington of Linkin Park! Whoa, didn’t see this one coming. When news surfaced that the band was looking to work with a singer whose name wasn’t Scott Weiland, I started wondering who they might get instead. Would they go for some kind of Weiland clone? Would they get an unknown dude? Or a known singer? And if you listen to the sample of the new song Out Of Time (which you can hear in the video snippet or full Soundcloud song below), well… it sounds pretty badass! Chester is a really good fit. And now I can’t wait to hear what these guys are up to in full. Are they working on a full album together? Or is STP doing the Santana thing and making an LP with guest vocalists instead? They haven’t exactly said what they’re doing either way yet, but the press release (below) stresses that they recorded ‘a song,’ not ‘a whole bunch of songs,’ so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
(LOS ANGELES) – Fans attending KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast over the weekend got a real surprise when Stone Temple Pilots took the stage unannounced, for a blistering set with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park as lead vocalist.
The crowd went wild as the band performed STP classics like ‘Sex Type Thing’ and ‘Vasoline’ and also debuted a brand new song, “Out of Time”– the recording of which KROQ premiered immediately following the band’s explosive 40 minute set.
When Stone Temple Pilots band members, Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz began thinking of singers to accompany the new music they were working on, Bennington was at the top of the list. “Chester has a one-of-a-kind voice that we’ve admired for a long time,” said Dean DeLeo. “We know Linkin Park will always be his priority, but we thought it would be cool to try something together. We managed to find the time to record a song and we’re all really happy with the result.”
“I’ve loved STP since I was 13 years old and they’ve had a huge influence on me,” explained Bennington. “When the opportunity came up to do something creative with them, I jumped at the chance. The guys in Linkin Park have been incredibly supportive of me undertaking this project while I’ve continued to work on new music with LP.”
Aah! This is perfect! A lot of us are huge fans of cabinet impulses in the studio but there hasn’t really been a practical way of using them live. You could take your laptop to a gig, but then what if someone runs off with it and finds your porn stash? Well the Torpedo C.A.B. will help you to retain your tone and your dignity by providing cabinet impulses in stompbox form. It’s not a loadbox (so don’t expect to be able to silently record your amp head), but it does include all the other features of the Torpedo Live (which is a loadbox), together with an input stage specifically tailored to accept pedal-level signals.
There are two assignable footswitches, to which you can assign functions including Preset selection, Bypass, Mute, EQ On/Off and more, while musicians equipped with MIDI rigs will be able to remote-control the Torpedo C.A.B. via MIDI. The package includes a Torpedo C.A.B. pedal and one Torpedo PI-101 WOS, which is a state-of-the-art guitar/bass speaker simulation plug-in.
What I’d like to know, and I hope someone is reading this who can answer, is this: can you plug your amp’s effect output into it to use impulses while recording or onstage, while still using your cabinet? That’s a method I’ve been using at home with plugins just so I don’t have to always mic everything up, but it’s a real hassle to do on the computer. The ability to do it in stompbox form would be great.
Last week I prepared and recorded a piece that used a looping device. It was a work I have performed on numerous occasions and will share what I learned about the process with you.
A loop is a short recording that you playback – like playing a duet – alone. Some of the lines used in Kali’s Invocation and Manifestation need matched sounds and I have always found that it is very difficult to match one’s own sound. There are very slight fluctuations: notes land just before or after the beat, which is impossible to match on playback. There are too many things to remember – “I was early on that note late on that one” pretty soon the amount of things you have to remember stifles one’s ability to play. In real time with another player these fluctuations are telegraphed, some feel thing creates a way for musicians to match up. As I developed this piece I found that by playing notes with a defined silence between them gave me enough clues to match the sounds with reasonable accuracy.
The week’s work started with a new loop pedal to get used to because the old one had a tendency to stop working in the middle of a performance. The new one [Ditto by TC electronics] is simple with one button to depress with your foot and a dial to set the volume level of the loop playback. Footwear matters – if the shoes are too long the dial gets moved, messing up the performance. The ditto pedal gives a clear playback sound with very little loss of sound quality as the layers build. This meant that I could adjust the balance as I went along which was new experience for me because the sound of the loops on the old device deteriorated as they accumulated. Adjusting the balance while playing made me feel like a conductor, giving the performance a more nuanced sound with subtle changes in the audio image.
Kali’s Invocation and Manifestation was created with assistance from the Music Creators program of the Toronto Arts Council and is part of much larger work for dancer entitled Godlines. It is a piece that has been recreated every time I have learned and performed it, but as yet not written down. The process of rehearsing is very different than it is with a static, unchanging set of notes. This is a bit frustrating as one has to develop the work afresh each time, referring to previous and recent recordings. Rather than upgrading one’s competency level time is spent making decisions, judgments and choices. As a performer this is worrisome before going into the studio – I need to know that the playing is solid. On the other hand given the flexibility one is free to adapt and change.
The most difficult thing I found during the recording is my inaccuracy with the button pushing. There is some editing in the posted link at the bottom of the page – we edited out the flubbed button errors. Usually I worry about my fingers being accurate and now I have to be concerned with my foot’s ability to activate a button.
Nasrudin came to a small town and seeing the market, stopped at a produce stand to admire the exotic fruits for sale. “These bright red fruits look great – I’ll take a pound!” After paying the vendor he left, satisfied with his purchase.
Down the road a bit, he stopped to take a bite of one of the bright red fruits. His mouth felt like it was on fire, his face turned beet red and he cried out in pain. Still, he kept right on eating. A passing observer approaches him. “Excuse me, what are you doing?”
“These fruits looked so attractive and delicious, I thought one wouldn’t be enough so I bought a whole pound.”
“But why do you keep on eating them? They’re very hot chili peppers.”
“What I’m eating now aren’t really chili peppers,” says Nasrudin burping, “it’s my money.”
By: Jamie Holroyd
Thankfully, the internet and YouTube have made discovering new musicians all over the world easier than ever. Several fantastic guitar players in countries I’ve never been to have made their way onto my computer screen, and one of these is the Texas based Dave Biller.
Biller has toured and recorded with Wayne Hancock, Dale Watson, and Deke Dickerson and is mostly known as a professional pedal steel player, but his record ‘Hot Guitars of Biller & Wakefield’ captured the ears of guitar and music lovers everywhere.
Like many guitarists of his age, Biller’s first hero’s were classic rock guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Clapton, and Hendrix, but jazz “became his religion” after discovering a ‘Best of Coltrane’ cassette in a clearance bin in an old record store.
Biller has a unique guitar style that takes influence from jazz heavyweights such as Barney Kessel and Howard Roberts, country pickers such as Roy Nichols and James Burton and the three Blues Kings; Freddie, Albert, and BB, but he says the guitarist which made the biggest impact on his playing was Django Reinhardt.
“In 1998 I saw the film footage of him for the first time and it changed my life in music forever. It was a pivotal moment and for the next 5 years I was hopelessly lost in the world of gypsy jazz.”
Although Biller was once an exclusive Tele picker, he now plays anything from Strats, Les Pauls, 175 C’s, and was recently seen performing at the Crossroads festival with a Collings 335 where he got to play with one of his musical heroes, Jimmie Vaughan.
“Well, my big moment at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival was pretty memorable for obvious reasons. But also because there was a bit of a musical meltdown onstage, whereupon the beat got turned around, making the whole tune sound like some kind of psychedelic free jazz excursion! Oh well, maybe I wasn’t meant to be a stadium rock star. It was an incredible experience, nonetheless.”
A popular YouTube video shows Biller with a Tele equipped with a Charlie Christian pickup which he comments “I had a Lollar CC in one of my Teles and really liked it, plus it looked really cool, but the best sounding neck pickup I ever had in a telecaster was a Gibson mini humbucker. Phenomenal! I moved the same pickup to another Tele later and it sounded like crap! Oh well!”
The only ‘telecaster’ Biller owns at the minute is a thinline fitted with Jazzmaster pickups, quite far from your standard blackguard model. Out all the guitars he has owned over the years, he says that some of his favourites he wish he still had are a fiesta red ’66 Tele, (“the best sounding Tele I owned”), his first Strat (a ’74), and a ’71 Black Beauty Custom which he loved despite it being an immensely heavy guitar.
A couple of years ago Biller developed focal dystonia in his right hand which can still make his musical endeavours challenging, but inspired by Django’s more serious injury, he spends much of his practice time dealing with the set back but was a very serious student of the guitar in his younger days.
“Well, I hate to admit this, but I really don’t practice the guitar anymore. When I did, I was very organized and militant about it. I went through the typical 10 hour day phase when I was younger and really tried to schedule my routine. Nowadays if I do sit down with a guitar, I mainly just noodle!”
Biller’s practice routine would start with scale and arpeggio warm-ups then move on to chord studies, sight reading, repertoire, and transcription. “I started out learning complete solos and meticulously writing them out. Sometimes I found myself labouring over the physical transcription itself and spent too much time on the paper instead of learning to play it!”
“I did some transcriptions with no instrument in my hand but then would have a real hard time learning them, so I started doing shorter phrases. If I heard a passage that I really liked I would write it in a book I had compiled. I analyzed each one to get the essence of why it sounded good to me and use the info to try and develop my own ideas. When I was learning Django’s stuff I memorized everything and never wrote down a single note and never have since.”
The focused approach to practice was reflected in his advice to young guitar players in which he says “As cliché as it sounds, practice and learn everything you can about music. There seems to be this sort of anti-theory mentality, as if knowledge is bad and will make your playing sound clinical or sterile. Horse feathers! I say! It’s all about taste and how you apply your knowledge.”
This positive approach to practicing and playing the guitar is still apparent. When asked what his goals are for the future he replied “My only goals are to continue improving my craft.”
About the Author
Jamie Holroyd is a UK based jazz educator and author who runs Jamie Holroyd Guitar, a free website filled with lessons for the studying jazz guitarist.
© 2013, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
A very nice and astute guitarist/reader from Australia suggested I address the subject of tempo, i.e., keeping a steady beat but from a slightly different perspective. I’ve talked about the absolute importance of this in the past but it has usually been a case of students slowing down or stopping on chord changes. But there is another thing to watch out for: speeding up!
I have been totally guilty of this many times in the past and I most likely still do it. Usually it has to do with the adrenaline rush of playing a tune you really like or have great confidence in. Examples: Back in the 1970s when I played, toured and recorded with fiddler Marie Rhines we went into the Philo Records studio to record out first record. It was a heady experience to say the least. We were very worried about a couple tunes that were somewhat complex and had fairly complicated arrangements. And you know what? We nailed them in two or three takes. However… a couple tunes that we thought we could play with one hand became big trouble. On the first one we were about one verse in when the recording engineer suddenly said through the headphones, “Uh… you’re speeding up!”
Well, after a half dozen takes he finally suggested putting a “click track” through the phones, which is essentially a metronome. That worked but man, what a mind blower and it made those tunes good, but frankly not quite so spontaneous. Oh well. He was right. But those four or five “easy” ones ended up taking a few precious days of recording time. Lesson learned. Kind of, anyway.
Later on when I was playing lead guitar with my all-time favorite band we were often guilty of starting familiar 60s dance tunes way too fast – and then speeding up! This was obvious when we viewed early videos of our performances. The people always danced and our disregard of tempo came from the pure joy of playing. Not very professional, for sure, but it was fun!
So the take-away point here is basic and simple. Use a metronome when you practice – and don’t take for granted songs you thing you play pretty damn well!
Other stuff. I watched a great show the other night: Mumford & Sons Live at Red Rocks. OK, folks, I am a dinosaur musically speaking in a lot of ways and it’s taken me about a year of exposure to their music, but I think I finally “get it.” And like it very much! If you get a chance to see that program, do check it out. Their performance is amazingly dynamic and my overall reaction was, wow, those guys are TIGHT. Multi-rythmic changes, 2/4 into ¾ into 6/8 and back to 2/4 with absolute precision. I do wish they’d mix up their writing formula a bit. Every song seems to start slow and mellow and then at some point the leader yells “hey!” and they start pounding and strumming and picking and jumping around like crazy – and the crowd loves it, every time. Maybe I just don’t get that part of what they do. But there is no questioning their talent, precision and pure joy.
And lastly for today – I think I’ve finally found it: my Guitar of a Lifetime. It is a virtually new Martin Custom D-42, made in a limited run of 25 pieces for The Guitar Center. It features gorgeous Madagascar rosewood back and sides, Italian spruce top, premium ebony bridge and fingerboard, 45-style pearl inlay, scalloped braces, premium mahogany neck and I installed Colosi antique stained, pearl inlaid bridge pins. The sound? Well, I don’t have the vocabulary to describe it with true justice. Deep, complex, resonant, punchy, much crisper treble than any dread I’ve every heard, and LOUD. A true “banjo killer” if ever there was one. And did I mention beautiful?!
It plays like a dream too, with perfect action. And try as I might, I CANNOT over-drive it – it just keeps giving and giving. I will post some images in the next installment here. The cost was staggering but I have lusted after a D-40 series Martin for all my guitar playing life. And now I have one. The dilemma is now, do I chance taking it out on gigs?!?
Peace & good music,
By: Bob Cavuoto
The heavy metal legends, Judas Priest, whose influence on generations of musicians and metalheads is incalculable, celebrate their 40th year as recording artists with a live concert DVD, Epitaph – a unique live career retrospective.
Filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on the last day of their tour in 2012, Epitaph provides the metal fans with 140 minutes of brain surging metal – 23 tracks across 14 albums spanning a 40 year career! To promote this new DVD the concert is being screened at select theaters around the US.
On the bands stop into New York for their debut theatrical screening, I had the pleasure of sitting with Rob Halford and Richie Faulkner to share their behind the scenes look into the making of Epitaph.
It was interesting to hear the band perspective on their longevity of influencing millions of fans around the world for the last 40 years.
Robert Cavuoto: When I first saw the band with Richie Faulkner in 2011 as well as on the DVD, I couldn’t help but notice that the band seemed re-energized. Do you feel that difference also?
Rob Halford: Musicians feed off each other with their musicianship, their performance and their energy. You can’t help but feel it on stage. Right from day one Richie connected with us. We wanted Richie to be himself and not a copycat of KK Downing.
There is no point in that. We told him to just be yourself. You have the skills and the talent. Night after night you get buzzed just by watching Richie work and the seeing the fans reactions.
Robert: That’s a tremendous compliment from the Metal God. What do you think you bring to the band night after night?
Richie Faulkner: Obviously you don’t know what happened prior to joining the band but from my point of view there is nothing else that I can be but excited and energized. To be playing great songs with great people in front of great fans around the world. You hear the feedback from the band, the fans and the crew. Its always a great compliment.
Robert: Some of the songs performed on your new DVD, Epitaph, are 20, 30, and even 40 years old. They really stand the test of time and sound fresh and not dated like so many ’80s bands, what’s your take on that?
Rob Halford: [Laughing] Your right, a pop song from the ’60s sounds like a pop song from the 60’s as it should. There are subtle differences like in the production of “Turbo Lover” is different than the production of “Nostradamus”.
There are certain rock songs that work well today as they did 20, 30, 40 years ago when you play them live, with the modern guitar and drum sound, there is a fluid connectivity that pulls it altogether and makes it work. Having said, when you strip a song down to its bare bones, if it’s a good song it should last.
Robert: I think Priest is one of those rare bands that can go out and play some of the more obscure tracks and diehard fans will go crazy. Is it tough to pick a list that satisfies everyone?
Rob Halford: It’s difficult. When you have the good luck and fortune to have a long life in rock n’ roll, the longer you’re in the game the more difficult it is because your material is backing up behind you.
“If you play this one, than you can’t play that one”. You have to get the right balance and there are always a handful of songs that you gotta play like “Breaking the Law” and “Living after Midnight”. The fans made you famous for those songs.
Once you got those set, we look to bring in songs that offer a different texture and dynamic. That’s when you look at the little gems like “Starbreaker”, “Blood Red Skies” and “Never Satisfied”.
You listen to them and play them and start to make sense of the show. Every song is given its moment with its smoke, fire, video, lighting, and costume changes. It lives for three plus minutes,
it’s like you’re watching an opera or a musical. You have to think all of that through. Then you go into rehearsal and try it out and you get a hole in one. You don’t have to make changes. Maybe part of it is instinct and part of is intuitive. We seem to have it right from the get-go.
Richie Faulkner: When you start with 3 ½ hours of material you have to start cutting some songs. You have to make the decision as a band which song you have to let go. That’s the tough decision.
Robert: I would image in the set list there are songs that you both look forward to performing live and others not so much. Can you share some examples of both?
Richie Faulkner: Favorites would be “Victim of Changes”, “The Sentinel”, and “Blood Red Skies”. They all have points which I enjoy playing. It may be a beautiful break down section or full on metal. Not so favorites, that’s tough one. Nothing comes to mind.
Rob Halford: I think what we have always agreed on in this band, if there is something we are not comfortable with than we are not going to play it. There has to be a connection and you have to wanna play the song. You need to be connected to the song emotionally so you have the credibility behind it. Every song that we ever played in Priest, to best of my recollection, we all gave them thumbs up.
With that said, some songs are more challenging than others! [Humming “Breaking the Law”], that’s easy, but when you go into “Blood Red Skies” you go into a fucking giant monster. There are so many notes, a lot of time sequence changes, and a lot of drama.
I don’t know how these guys remember all of it as I have a hard time remembering all the words! [Laughter]. That is the essence of a professional musician to nail it night after night. They go “we doing Blood Red Skies tonight” and I say I don’t feel like doing it [Laughing].
We have been on the road for eight months and played 30,000 miles and now I have to go out and do “Blood Red Skies”. But, when the moment comes when we get to the song in the set all of that goes away.
Richie Faulkner: It’s a commitment to the craft. You have to comment yourself to the song. To make sure the music and production is bang-on. You are giving yourself to it. When it comes together and you hear the crowd at the end of it, you know it was great
Rob Halford: Can I have a Alleluia? [Rob Halford raises the devil horns to the sky to approval and laughter]
Robert: When you joined, was as it decided that you would take of all KK Downing’s leads and fills or did you and Glenn Tipton decided to change things up as to what parts fits the player best?
Richie Faulkner: I took all KK’s leads and harmony parts. There were something’s we adapted for the encores like on “Electric Eye” “Another Thing Coming” and “Hell Bent for Leather”. The songs landed where Glenn had the solos. Glenn actually came to me and said he wanted for us to solo together so we made a few new parts and now both sharing ending solos.
Robert: Knowing that this DVD was being filmed on the last day of the tour was there any nervousness or concerns that if you didn’t nail it, you won’t have a DVD?
Rob Halford: [Laughing] It’s only been our friends like yourself that have asked us that that question. I think if someone would have said “Look I want to point this out to you, this is the last show of the tour, everyone has flights leaving at 4:00am, the crew is going home, the film crew has other commitments and if there is a fuck up – we lost it!”
I think if someone had said that to us we would have said, “Ok maybe its best that we shouldn’t do it we’ll wait until the next time around” [Laughing].
We went out there and played our hearts outs. The amount of power and attitude on that last show after 100,000 miles we traveled around the planet several times and playing for close to a million fans, it felt as if we just started the tour.
That reinforces the professional commitment, respect, and dedication to each other. To give the fans the best show.
Robert: I speak with so many bands that modeled themselves after Priest, often imitated but never duplicated. What do you attribute your success and longevity too when so many have failed?
Rob Halford: It’s obviously the players and the chemistry. I think you look at any of the acts that have lasted as long like Maiden, the Stones, and AC/DC its alls down to the material and how these people come to each other lives. There are certain components that if they weren’t there it wouldn’t last. You can’t deny that good music will travel time and it will still connect with the fans.
Richie Faulkner: Anyone out there who has legacy was blazing the trail and pushing the envelope for everyone follow, like Maiden and Metallica they were the first of their kind and carved their own niche. Each Priest LP has a different flavor where they experimented and blazed new trails.
Rob Halford: We didn’t follow any set pattern. Some people said you took risks. Maybe we did but we didn’t consider it risks. Songs like “Parental Guidance”, “Locked In”, “Out in the Cold” and then put on “Painkiller” and you say that can’t be the same band. Well. it’s just who we are.
I always said we were like the heavy metal version of Queen. They wrote songs for themselves, if you like what you do that’s great. We write songs that we find interesting, entertaining, and challenging. As Richie said pushing the envelope.
So, that’s what makes Priest a unique heavy metal band.
There isn’t another heavy metal band like Priest in the world. We didn’t set out to achieve that, it’s just the way the dice rolled as musicians, writers, and composers.
Robert: When we last spoke you said you were in the infancy of writing new songs for the next Priest CD. What is the status and do you have any working titles?
Richie Faulkner: No working titles that we can share as of yet but we are working on the CD.
Rob Halford: The overarching structure and statement of this record is full of Priest tradition and heritage. It will be as unique in its own life as all the other records we have made in the past. It’s the right record we need to make after Nostradamus.
Nostradamus was a wonderful achievement but it had a different emotional texture. We need to get back into the groove of metal, heavy riffs, and screaming vocals.
All the classic elements of the band. We are not going retro, we know the type of music we need to play. We didn’t commit to a timetable; the label is really supportive so we have this tremendous respect for each other. They know we are doing our best to make another great metal record for them.
It’s coming along great; I think we can optimistically be finished at the end of this year.
Robert: Are you writing together in the studio?
Richie Faulkner: Yes, about for two months last year, Rob, Glenn and I got together and share ideas to see what sticks. The creative is not being stifled by 3 minute songs format. There are no confinements or deadlines. We are trying to experiment with some different things.
Rob Halford: Its fun and thrilling when the three of us get together to write. We will be in the studio listening to a take and then in the background we hear Richie noodling on the guitar.
I’ll go, “what the fuck is that Richie”, what are you playing and he re-creates it. We then send him in to record it. That’s the infectious side of how music works. Whenever I hear somebody else from any of the metal bands I’m instantly inspired. I hear notes and melodies. It’s like a trigger, that’s what happens in your own world.
As you probably know if you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, I work for Seymour Duncan in social media. It’s a really fun job and everyone at Seymour Duncan is just so friendly, knowledgable and downright cool. Something I’m super-excited about on a personal level – since I’m way into my extended range guitars – is the new selection of pickups designed specifically for 7 and 8-string players: the Pegasus, the Sentient and the Nazgûl. The Nazgûl is a passive humbucker specifically created for extreme metal styles, and it sounds brutal. In the best possible way, of course. Here’s the press release:
Seymour Duncan Announces The Nazgûl
It’s not just a pickup, it’s a weapon of tonal Armageddon. The Nazgûl was designed with a single purpose; for intense high output chug heavy punch you in the chest ruthless distortion. The tone is heavy and aggressive but also retains articulation and provides a precise pick attack that is necessary for high-output metal. The Nazgûl gives chords heavy saturation and produces a lightning fast response to your amp. Perfect for all high output metal needs in which sonic obliteration needs to be accomplished.
The Nazgûl is available for 7 and 8 string players and also comes in an active mount (soapbar) sizing for those who own a guitar that originally came with active pickups but prefer the tone of passive pickups.
For more information, visit: http://www.seymourduncan.com